Laptop Motherboard not my actual laptop

I have been delaying repairing the fan on my laptop for quite some time. My model, the Acer Aspire 8942G, had an ongoing issue with its fan, which would make quite a racket when it would have to spin too fast.

Looking around the web for a thermal unit replacement, I found that it would cost me around US$50. Sending the laptop to have it repaired would cost around US$75 in addition to whatever I was going to be charged for the part I needed.

Going over to Youtube I found several videos of people taking their laptops apart to fix their laptop fans. The thing in common among those videos was that usually the fans where making noise because of a lack of lubrication in addition to being dirty with dust.

I decided with this information to carry out the repair myself. Now, I have to be clear, my approach might not be for you, especially if you aren’t familiar with electronic devices. Carrying out this type of repair can render your hardware useless and will most certainly void your warranty.

For carrying out the repair I needed the laptop service manual, which can be found with a Google search. I also needed an ESD Reusable Wriststrap, sewing machine oil and thermal compound. All together having a cost of around US$25.

Armed with these and several months of procrastination, I took on the job of repairing the fan. I followed the disassembly instructions from the service manual to the letter.

I was surprised by the amount of dust that had collected all over the interior of the laptop. after about an hour of carefully taking apart the laptop I was able to reach the fan to take it apart. I removed the fan blades from the casing and used alcohol to clean it. I used sewing machine oil to lubricate the fan and then started the long process of putting the laptop back together.

Making sure to follow the assembly instructions step by step I was rewarded with the all familiar noise of a functioning fan operating smoothly. It has been several weeks since the repair and all seems in order.

Now, after reading this you might wonder why did I use sewing maching oil. Well, while doing the research in laptop fan repair almost all people agreed that using something like WD40 was a mistake, with the sewing machine oil being the most suitable.

One thing that cannot be stressed enough is the use of an ESD Reusable Wriststrap, which prevents you from damaging your electronics due to electrostatic discharge. If you find that using the ESD Reusable Wriststrap around your wrist is too annoying or distracting, you can put it around your ankle.

I carried out the repair knowing that if I had been unsuccessful I would at least be familiar with the interior of my laptop and how to take it apart. I could also order the correct fan for my unit instead of having to purchase the thermal unit, which is comprised of the fan and the heat pipes.

  1. sashley says:

    I have never used a wrist strap and I have repaired several laptops including replacing noisy fans. Touch a large part of the chassis upon opening the case has always worked for me. Have never fried one.

    I have always replaced the fans, and have never heard of the sewing machine oil trick. I often would have something in a bin of parts that would fit. If not some measurements and a cruse through ebay or other sites on the web would yield a fan that would work for a few bucks. Always nice to have a new trick though.

    • andrewa says:

      How do you know you have not stressed a component with static? CPU’s run on 3.3 volts, what voltage do you generate between grounding yourself and using both hands to move/fit something? Google static damage to semiconductor devices.

      • Charles Tustison says:

        Most of the off the shelf wrist straps don’t provide any level of reliable protection. I worked with constant monitoring wrist straps that would beep when you were not grounded and without very moist skin or use of a lotion like Statiscide, you frequently would lose ESD protection. Most of us would use wrist straps, but work like we didn’t have the strap.

  2. Phil A. Minion says:

    Geez, now you know why we charge $75.00 for labor. A pittance.

  3. jck says:

    I apologize for my first comment here being this negative, but it is horribly bad advice. Of course it is better than paying ridiculous money, but I can do better:

    (1) Problem: Your laptop fan makes silly noises.

    (2) Switch laptop off, turn over, locate largest part that can be taken off.

    (3) Find appropriate screwdriver. If you don’t have one, get a “30 in one” “precision screwdriver set” from China. It’s less than $5 including S&H, and it will be te most used tool you will ever have owned. I recommend aliexpress, but that will take a few weeks.

    (4) Locate the fan. Use an appropriate screwdriver to get it out. It will have a model number somewhere. Find that on aliexpress (or similar, but you’ll probably end up in China).

    (5) Order new fan and wait until it arrives. Will be between $5 and $15.

    (6) Using your appropriate screwdrivers, open laptop, take old fan out, install identical new fan, close up and be happy.

    Ok, there were some points left out:

    For the electrical part: Wristbands are fine, but you just have to be grounded. This is easy in Europe – touch a toe to the standing-out grounding parts of an extension cable, but U.S. does not have those. Water piping will always be grounded, so the most reliable recommendation for U.S. from me would be to do everything in the bathtub with one foot on the tap (thus, you have both hands). Works with a (grounded) radiator, too, but I’d rely on plumbing. If you think you cannot reliably touch yout toe to any plumbing for five seconds, get the wristband. They are made for people who do that (and more difficult things) all day.

    The thermal compound part. I have no idea why this would be relevant for the fan. A fan is a fan, and unless you change the copper heat ducts attached to the processors (which you should not), there is no need for a thermal compound. Thermal compound is expensive, and difficult to apply, so just do not touch the parts that require it.

    tl;dr: These are excellent instructions on how to take out a broken fan and get it working. It takes a lot less time and money to just replace it, if you order it from it’s country of origin directly, which is problably China.

    Btw: why would anyone buy an ACER laptop? You can get better quality and reliability for not more money (Lenovo), equal q&r for less money (Dell) and real value for money (HP) – and while this list is subject to unpredictable changes, Acer was never a “good” laptop manufacturer.

    • Gasparrini says:

      I had no way of knowing which part was the fan until I disassembled the whole unit. I found the actual model on Aliexpress like you said. If the repair had been unsuccessful I would have ordered the correct fan for my unit.
      My Acer laptop has never given me any problems. I bought this model because it has an 18.4″ display. An Alienware laptop with the same size screen would have been too expensive in comparison.
      I would avoid buying HP, I’ve had nothing but problems with their hardware.
      Never had a Dell.
      I used the Thermal Compound because I had to remove the Thermal Unit (Fan + Heat Pipes) to get access to the fan. Once you remove the Thermal Unit you need to clean the dried up thermal compound that is over the CPU, GPU and Chipset and put new thermal compound.

      • jck says:

        Sorry. I just now had a look at the manual of your model. The person who designed the heatsink should be shot. On the other hand, the person who made the manual should get an award.

        Sorry again; I also did not know it is some specialty model. Asus is excellent value for money for specialty models – I bought an Acer Travelmate “touchscreen convertible” in ’03 which is still working fine, and I am happy with my two Acer screens, as is my wife with hers. I just only know of problems with standard Acer Notebooks – probably similar to your HP experience.

  4. NewFormatSux says:

    My laptop tends to overheat if watching video or other Flash, so perhaps I will try this.

    You never mentioned what you did with the thermal compound.

    • Jack Palance says:

      “You never mentioned what you did with the thermal compound”

      what happens within ACER stays within ACER, insomuch as it does not.

    • Gasparrini says:

      To get access to the fan I had to remove the Thermal Unit, which includes the whole fan plus heat pipes. Once you remove it you need to clean the dried up thermal compound that is over the CPU, GPU and chipset and put in your new thermal compound.

  5. F_W says:

    for the compound, i imagine he took out the cooling elements, (if a laptop has such), and cleaned them as he mentioned whit the fan.
    And then put it back with just a dab of paste, as to close the heat conductance.

  6. GuRunt says:

    Does John C. Dvorak EVER blog here any more?

    THIS is the kind of topic I expect from HIS BLOG since he (JCD) is, after all, a long time technical guru from way back in the day before even Google was a thing.

    … Great to hear you got it fixed. Sorry I fell asleep. I do this kind of thing every day (yawn).

  7. ECA says:

    The worst thing about Laptops…
    there isa power regulator inside, that changes the power for all the sections..and parts..
    ITS NOT cant be replaced..
    There are sales of the motherboard on the net…but its a total FAIL for a part thats worth $15..

    IF’ they would run through the battery FIRST, and then to the system, it would last longer.. it could take out the bumps in power surges..but they dont.

  8. jimbo says:

    WD-40 was invented to remove water from things. (Water Displacement – 40 attempts to make a useful product). Yes, it will lubricate slightly, it’s better than nothing, but the very lightweight volatiles will evaporate in a couple of days, leaving a small bit of paraffin, which obviously doesn’t lubricate well. Same for “rust preventative”, there isn’t enough paraffin to really do the job. Seems WD-40 has a very effective marketing department.

  9. bobbo, in point of fact says:

    “Armed with these and several months of procrastination, I took on the job of repairing the fan.” //// Poetry.

    With your diy mentality, I’m surprised you bothered with the manual for a “simple” fan repair. Personally….I only use the manual after I forgot how the thing looked at the start….and for that, I find taking polaroids (now digital shots) all along the way can really help…….except for those spring loaded bummers.

    Always rewarding to find the fix. And yes….wd-40 is “good” for just about NOTHING around electronics.

    • Gasparrini says:

      You actually have to look at the manual for taking my laptop model apart. Just Google ‘acer aspire 8942g service manual’ and you will be able to see for yourself all the steps needed to be able to reach and remove the motherboard from the laptop case.

  10. Ted says:

    This is a topic tjat is cose to my heart… Best wishes! Whefe are your contact detaails though?

  11. Rogue says:

    Why load the image from WikiMedia?

    Why load such a big image – 4000×3000?

    Why didn’t you resize it and use a copy on your server?


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